Pro-athletes go to far with antics

Published 12:38 am Sunday, October 28, 2007

You’ve all seen them. The elaborate touchdown celebrations, the rain dances after a 2-yard sack and other me-first antics from professional athletes.

Whether it’s the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson donning a mock NFL Hall of Fame jacket after scoring a touchdown earlier this season against the Baltimore Ravens or Cowboys’ narcissistic wide receiver Terrell Owens mugging to every camera he can find, the amount of self-marketing has reached the absurd level.

By the way, Johnson’s Bengals are 2-4 this season while Owens has been basically fired by two teams, the 49ers and Eagles before landing in Dallas. There he drove coach Bill Parcells to retirement following last season.

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Perhaps these, and other, professional prima-donnas could learn a thing or two from our local high school athletes.

As with many things, sometimes the kids are better examples than the so-called adults.

There have been three stories published in The Democrat’s sports section over the past three weeks with a common theme

Ferriday’s new football coach, the softball player and coach of the year and Trinity’s senior football players are all people who put the team first.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Ferriday and Trinity are both undefeated deep into the football season and Centreville’s softball team won the MPSA AA State Championship and were runner-ups in the Overall Tournament.

The players interviewed placed the team and their coaches above themselves when talking about the success they had.

Centreville pitcher Emily Gaulden, the All-Metro Softball Player of the Year, said “I can’t do it without my defense. If the batters were giving me trouble, the defense had my back.”

Or how about Trinity senior football player Clint Easom: “It’s all coach (David) King. He doesn’t expect anything less (than winning.) (Our coaches) put us in the best situation to win. We just have to make it happen.”

In Ferriday’s case, the team concept has come from head coach Freddie Harrison.

“Our motto is ‘Stay humble and meek.’” Harrison said.

It apparently has worn on his team, judging from comments like this one from senior wide receiver Montrell Tennessee.

“We play hard for our coach. We put our heart and soul in it for him.”

Adults are charged to set examples for children, but far too often, it is the other way around.

In the case of team attitude, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt for the pro athletes to take a trip down to the Miss-Lou and see how it is supposed to be.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or